Mahathir should reward the "very strong support" of the majority moderate Muslims by sustaining the democratic, secular and multi-religious character of Malaysia instead of succumbing to pressures to out-Islam PAS by declaring Malaysia is an Islamic state - which can only scare the moderate Muslims and non-Muslims.
Mahathir should know that he does not have the support of the overwhelming majority of the moderate Muslims for establishing an Islamic state in Malaysia - just as the overwhelming majority of non-Muslims oppose Malaysia becoming an Islamic state, not because they are anti-Islam but because the concept of an Islamic state is not compatible with Malaysia becoming a model modern, progressive, democratic plural society.
For this reason, Mahathir should seriously reconsider withdrawing the announcement he made at the Gerakan national assembly on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia is already an Islamic state, before more harm is done to the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation.
The Prime Minister should be mindful that his interview with L'Expansion has caused consternation among non-Muslim Malaysians, who felt that their contributions and sacrifices to making Malaysia the modern economic success today have not been appreciated.
There must be no grudging acknowledgement that the achievements and successes of Malaysia is due to both Muslims and non-Muslims - and that this formula of multi-ethnic and multi-religious co-operation in nation-buiding should not be undermined by any unilateral and arbitary jettisoning of the 44-year fundamental constitutional principle and nation-building cornerstone of Malaysia as a democratic, secular and multi-religious nation by the declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state.
The Prime Minister should take the first opportunity to generously acknowledge the contribution of both the moderate Muslims and non-Muslims to the successes which had been registered in the nation-building exercise, which should be fully harnessed to resolve the mutiple crisis of confidence which had afflicted the country in the past few years.